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Why I didn't release code using the Beats Music Developer API

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7/23/2014 - Why I didn't release code using the Beats Music Developer API (Music)


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Why I didn't release code using the Beats Music Developer API
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
05:22:39 GMT


Here's why I didn't release any code which uses the Beats Music Developer API, despite the fact that I did make an unreleased, incomplete, but functional Beats Music-API-using add-on for my released JavaScript music player.

Basically, I can't stomach the idea of doing free work for a $3 billion dollar company, especially one owned by Apple. Even paid work for such a company would be morally difficult for me (see Richard Stallman's page on Why you should not buy Apple products for some reasons why) - even if I remained the owner and copyright holder of my code and could release it all myself under a free, libre, open source license.

Besides that, I didn't want to possibly imperil the copyleft of my JavaScript music player by releasing a Beats-Music-API-using add-on for it.

Also, on July 13th, out of curiosity (and, admittedly, temptation resulting from needing money), I asked Beats Music if people can get paid for writing software using their developer API.

Alas, I received the disappointing reply that that the public API is for use for non-commercial purposes, but that "If you make an application with a strong use case, we can forward you to our partnership group. They would then contact you about steps to becoming a partner."

Then, on Tuesday, July 15th, I sent this message to Beats:

Thanks for your replies! Some more questions:

* Do partners get paid directly by Beats Music, and if so, how much does Beats Music pay on average?

* Or, do partners make money in other ways?

* Do partners remain the owner and copyright holder of their own code?

* Are partners allowed to release their code under a libre/open source license such as the GNU Affero General Public License?

* How close is Beats Music to releasing a complete official web player?

* Is Beats Music willing to pay for outside developers' help with that, or a Roku app?

I love the API, and have been having a fun time playing with it these past few weeks (though I haven't finished anything releasable so far).

Thanks again for your answers!

[name omitted]

I was told my message will be forwarded to the partnership group and that they should be contacting me directly.

But, over a week later, I still haven't heard anything from the "partnership group", and haven't yet received any answers to those questions.

Which I guess is not at all surprising, because mentioning free, libre, open source copyleft licenses to a closed-source software company is probably like waving garlic and a crucifix in front of a vampire. :-)

Anyway, my guess is "partner" is probably a euphemism for "sucker", similar to how "royalties" should usually actually be called "pittances". :-)

And I'm guessing probably all the answers to my questions would have been very disappointing.

I wonder if "partners" only get paid in free pairs of Beats headphones? :-)

So, despite my financial difficulties tempting me to flirt with the idea - I'm almost certainly not going to do anything for Beats Music or which involves their API.

The API was fun to play with, and I learned a bit from doing so, but, it definitely isn't fun enough to justify subscribing to Beats Music, especially when I'm not even sure Beats Music's alleged audio problems (described in detail here and here) have ever been fixed.

And, as of July 23, 2014, Beats Music's official web player (version 1.11.1-rc3) is still extremely lame and feature-deprived, despite the fact that Beats Music bought and mostly shut down (except in Australia) the tremendously superior MOG streaming music service, which had a fantastic web player.

The only obvious new feature I noticed in the official Beats Music web player is that you can now access the "My Library" section on the web. But, other than that, it seems about the same as I remember it being back in January/February 2014.

Apple (which owns Beats Music) should be ashamed, for that and many other reasons. (Again, here's Richard Stallman's page on Why you should not buy Apple products.)

So, I'm soon going to move on to trying out Sony's Music Unlimited and Google Play Music All Access. (One at a time, of course.)

I suspect I'll probably find them both satisfactory. But, after over a year of not being able to fix MOG's few but still annoying problems because MOG didn't have an API - it was really, really nice to finally have the opportunity to use my own, totally customizable music player. I don't know yet if Sony or Google provide APIs for their music services, but I hope they do, because even if I love their official web players, I'd still much rather use my own totally customizable one, and I might even choose a service with a crappy official web player as long as it has an API.

Anyway, if I ever do go the trouble to create a really complete player for streaming music, I'm likely to explore how to start my entire own streaming music service.

Perhaps it's not as hard as I suspect. I gleaned from this discussion that Beats Music and MOG both stream music from a service called MediaNet, located at

I most likely won't actually go the trouble of starting my entire own streaming music service, but, I've definitely been daydreaming about it, and if I had nothing better to do and didn't need money (or at least didn't need money sooner than I'd be likely to get it from starting my own streaming music service), I might really work on it. :-)

As usual, donations and microdonations and purchases of goods (still none available yet) and services are welcome.

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